Event Person

Body Found After Truck Goes in River

“City firemen recovered the body of a steelworker today nine hours after he was drowned in the Ohio River.”

“The victim was identified as Leo Miller, 31, of Tygart road, employee of the Portsmouth Steel Corp. open hearth department.”

Garfield Boggs of Maloneton, night watchman on the ‘Mr. Hanes’ ferryboat, told police Mr. Miller drove his truck through the cables at the upper ferry landing, across the ferry and into the river at 1: 45 AM today.”

Announces Ferry Closed

“Mr. Boggs said he informed the truck driver the ferry was closed for the night.”

“Mr. Boggs was working on the boat when he noticed the truck approach the ferry landing at ‘fast speed’, he told police.”

“The watchman walked to the truck and advised Mr. Miller that the ferry would not operate until morning and suggested Mr. Miller cross US Grant Bridge, he said.”

“‘He started the truck and drove through protection cables, on across the ferry and plunged into the river,’ Mr. Boggs told police, firemen and Pilot Russell Hanes, 2142 Jackson Street.”

Search For Woman

“Meanwhile, a search for the body of Mrs. Orville Gifford1, 28, of Dogwood Ridge, believed drowned in the Ohio River, continued today without avail. A woman believed to be Mrs. Gifford was seen climbing over the side of US Grant Bridge Friday afternoon.”

“Sheriff’s Deputies Sam Simon and Carl Lindner were to return this afternoon to drag the river.”

“After the truck went into the river, Mr. Boggs ran to the Davis Grocery, 2222 Charles Street, and summoned police and firemen and Pilot Hanes, who left the boat about 1:30 AM.”

“Working from a skiff, Mr. Hanes located thr truck with a pike pole. It was in about 12 feet of water, about 20 feet from the ferry, and appeared to have been turned upside town.”

Truck Found

“The truck was located about 3 AM. A dense fog hampered rescue work, Mr. Hanes said.”

Gil Galyean’s wrecker, working from the ferryboat, hooked the truck and raised it to the surface. Mr. Hanes maneuvered the ferry, turning it around, and pushed the truck up onto the ferry landing. A door was partially open. Mr. Miller’s body either fell out when the truck was raised, or when it went into the water.”

“Fireman under Assistant Chief Jack Cropper recovered the body about 10:30 AM opposite the Yacht Club, 100 yards downstream and 40 feet from shore.”

“Richard Bahner of Twin Valley, brother-in-law of Mr. Miller, identified the body at the scene. The body was taken to Piatt Funeral Home. Mr. Bahner said he and Mr. Miller married sisters.”

Traffic Lieutenant Albert Bailey assisted in the investigation.”

“Pilot Hanes said the ferry stops running at 11:30 PM. Monday night he worked on the motor from 11:30 PM to 1:30 AM and said he noticed a truck heading for the ferry landing as he walked home. A few minutes later he was notified of the accident.”

“Mr. Hanes said cables on both sides of the vehicle parking space were broken.”2

Ohio Certificate of Death for Leo Miller3

Record of Funeral for Leo Miller

242

Application for Headstone or Marker4

  1. Evalee Pearl Gifford (nee Martin)
  2. Body Found After Truck Goes In River. (1949, October 18). Portsmouth Times, p. 1.
  3. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DYFS-GQF?cc=1307272&wc=MD9F-PM3%3A287600001%2C294681201 : 21 May 2014), 1949 > 63201-66000 > image 1773 of 3057.
  4. “United States Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1949,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-994Q-B7MQ?cc=1916249&wc=MDBG-5NL%3A205942901%2C213806001 : 26 April 2021), 1941-1949 > Miller, Laurence-Mincher, Paul > image 81 of 2353; citing NARA microfilm publication M1916 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
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